COMMENTARY| A recent report from Mashable that mentioned Facebook's growth in the U.S. will drop into the single digits for 2012 should not really surprise anybody. That report highlighted that out of 308 million Americans, 133 million use Facebook, a pretty hefty capture ratio for any company. But as far as domestic users go, the social media giant is pretty much at a plateau.
The impressive part of the social media equation comes from Twitter. As Marketing Pilgrim reports, Twitter is running double-digit growth with room to grow. The growth number is relative as Marketing Land reports. Twitter ended 2011 with around 24 million U.S. users compared to the 133 million liking Facebook. Surely, Twitter's growth will outpace Facebook's, just based on the number of users already signed up.
The other social network running in the wings is Google Plus, which, according to CNN, had 90 million users in January. But users spent three minutes on Google Plus in January compared to more than seven hours on Facebook. Apparently, folks have decided which social network they like the most, at least for now.
So while the growth of Facebook might be slowing, it is far too early to claim the social media giant is in trouble. Instead, Facebook is going to try to get users to spend more time on the site and will eventually figure out how to profit from the massive 800 million global users it boasts.
Growth numbers are not indicative of the popularity of a website, once sites are as big as Facebook, surely that pace will slow. As far as U.S. numbers go, critics of Facebook need to worry less about growth rate, and more about the total active users, because when it comes down to it, it appears that Facebook is going to be difficult for any new social network platform to catch. No matter how fast they grow.